Biggest Flirts (Jennifer Echols)

Biggest Flirts is the first novel in the Superlatives series by Jennifer Echols.
Finished on: 29.7.2022

Tia has a very clear idea of what she wants, and that is no responsibility whatsoever. That she will become the drum captain pretty much by default for her senior year is a major drawback in that plan. But the start of the school year is still a week away, and meanwhile there is Will – new guy, freshly moved to Florida from the Midwest. They hook up, but then Tia realizes that Will would rather become serious. And she doesn’t do serious. But since he also plays the drums, it’s not like they can avoid each other. Not avoiding each other leads to friendship and to a whole lot flirting. When they are actually voted Biggest Flirts for the yearbook, things become awkward indeed.

I really enjoyed Biggest Flirts, especially Tia who is an unusual protagonist for a young adult romance. The story is well-paced and cute. Overall, it’s just really fun.

The book cover showing a boy and a girl posing for a photo in front of school lockers. She is sitting on his lap, making a kissy mouth.
Just a note: Tia is Puerto Rican, I don’t know why the whitest girl ever is on this cover.

I have heard good things about Echols, so I was curious about this – the first of her novels I got my hands on. And I can understand why she has a good reputation based on this one: the book is not only very funny and charming, it also pushes some boundaries of the young adult romance genre in a very nice way.

Not only is Tia not white, she is also very self-assured when it comes ot her sexuality. She has a friends-with-benefits relationship, and she pretty quickly becomes intimate with Will. And that’s just what it is. Her best friends do worry about her a little, but less because she’s sexually active and more because she refuses the emotional commitment that can go together with sexuality altogether.

Speaking of her friends: while Tia is a bit of a slacker who drinks and sometimes smokes weed (I liked how Echols gives her the agency to both decide for and against those things), her friends are high achievers and rather preppy. But that doesn’t change their friendship, another thing that I really appreciated, and that goes against the grain of the genre.

Tia in general is such an unusual character. She is smart, but she is not ambitious. Her family history makes this understandable, and she does get to grow a little, especially where her refusal to take on responsibility actually makes life harder for her. But she doesn’t make a full 180, which I thought was very nice.

Compared to her, Will pales a little. He, too, is a fully rounded character with his own issues, but he was a little boring next to Tia. I could still root for them as a couple, but I just fell in love with Tia much more than with him. That being said, I did enjoy reading about them – and I’m looking forward to the other two novels in the series.

Summarizing: sweet and fun.

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